Costa Rica: Reducing CO2 emissions from coffee production

Costa Rica aims to become the world’s first carbon-neutral country by 2021. A project to reduce emissions from coffee production will help it move one step closer to this goal.

In Costa Rica, the cultivation and processing of coffee beans are responsible for a quarter of total greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. The main sources of emissions are the organic waste from production and the chemicals used to fertilise the soil. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is training coffee producers to use sustainable agricultural methods as a way of reducing their CO2 emissions.

The project is financed out of the NAMA Facility, a joint fund established by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The Facility supports a huge range of measures designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries and emerging economies.

Farmers are shown, for example, how to recycle their organic waste. One solution is to use it as fertiliser, thus eliminating some of the need for chemicals. Emissions can be reduced further still by planting ‘shade trees’ in the plantations. As well as storing CO2, these trees protect the coffee plants against heavy rain.

The objective is for 6,000 coffee producers to be using sustainable agricultural methods over an area of 25,000 hectares – roughly one third of all the land devoted to coffee production in Costa Rica – by the end of 2019. Overall, that will save around 60,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

For more information about the project, see our new brochure entitled ‘Climate-friendly coffee from Costa Rica’.

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